You can’t take the Yorkshire out of Yorkshire

It is my civic duty to continue your enlightenment in the dark arts of being from Yorkshire. Think of it as a Public Service Broadcast. Think Bear Grylls and Born Survivor. One day you might end in deepest, darkest Barnsley – these help guides may just end of saving your life.

So here goes. Pay attention and digest the following Yorkshire list.

  • Don’t ever get into a discussion with someone from Yorkshire about how tough your childhood was. A true Yorkie will be compelled to outdo you. If you don’t believe me look up the Monty Python and the Four Yorkshiremen Sketch.
  • Queens English is not recognised in Yorkshire. You need to speak Yorkshire. It’s the only dialect which not one single voice recognition system has been able to crack.
  • To say Yorkshire you need to say YARKSHAR…
  • To say Hello you need to say OW DO or EY UP
  • To say Goodbye you need to say SE’THE
  • To say Very you say REET
  • To say ‘Can I Please Borrow’ you say CADGE
  • To say Nothing you say NOWT
  • To say You it’s THA
  • To say Yes it’s AYE
  • To say ‘I would like that one’ then you say BAGSY
  • Be careful with the word CHAMPION. In most part of the worlds it’s a fine shoe and sports clothing brand. In Yorkshire Champion means Excellent
  • Similarly in the rest of the world OK means I’m OK. In Yorkshire to say I’m OK you need to say ‘I’m fair t’ middling’
  • Someone approaching you and asking for a CROGGY is either a term of affection or they are asking for a lift on your bike.
  • If someone shouts ‘tha Chuffing ……’. That could mean you are being physically sworn at or it could be a warning that you are smoking and you need to jump into the nearest river.
  • You need to remember that the first Heavier than Air Manned Flight took place in Yorkshire over 150 years ago. I hear you ask WHY. The answer was that in the same year it became the law that Yorkshire Ferrets had to be kept in trouser pockets. Wouldn’t you be desperate to leave the county….
  • When you speak to someone from Yorkshire then you need to brace yourself. It’s only a matter of time before Yorkshire being the centre of the known universe is brought up. Quickly followed by the following line ‘which over place can claim to have a Captain of the Starship Enterprise, the first ever female Dr Who, the head of the X-Men and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Never try to argue with someone from Yorkshire as this will either result in the Yorkshire Terriers being set upon you or you will have to endure the following words – ‘you do know that Wuthering Heights was set here.’
  • If you are offered a Yorkshire Pudding then you need to be on your toes. This could either mean it’s being served as a starter, main course or sweet – or probably ALL three. In inclement weather you might also be offered one as a protective hat.
  • If you spend more than 5 minutes in the presence of someone from Yorkshire then the subject of CRICKET will enter the conversation. Specifically Cricket and Rhubarb. Just nod and smile and let the following local expression rattle around your brain. ‘Me ol mum could ave hit tha’ ball with a stick o’ rhubarb’. Also don’t be shocked if you then here ‘tha’s got more edges than a cracked bedpan’ – *** please note I cleaned that one up considerably***
  • You will hear many references to needing a Yorkshire passport. Currently this is not the case but in certain parts of the county the wearing of string vests and knotted hankies is a requirement.
  • The word ‘Scraps’. Here in Yorkshire it can mean two things. It can mean what happens when people get physical as they fight over the last frozen chicken left n the shop freezer. But it can also mean food heaven. Ask for a ‘bag a scraps’ in a Yorkshire Fish and Chip Shop and you will get a portion of the deep fried batter leftovers which are at the bottom of the fryer. But be careful with how you say ‘scraps’ to the Chipman and don’t ever make eye contact. This might end up with the chipman attacking you with a frying pan.

World leader

Patience. Apple Crumble will eventually be on the menu. Just need to wait.

So today the news is filled here with stories of thousands of kids getting exam grades downgraded because of a statistical algorithm. The UK Government backing the decision as the don’t want ‘kids being over promoted beyond their abilities’. The irony – coming from a Government filled with the most incompetent, over promoted, out of their depth numpties this country has ever seen. Our kids deserve better than this.

Dad how unfair is that. That year group is not allowed to sit exams. So they have to go on schoolwork and what the teacher grades the kid at. Then they randomly drop the grades because they don’t think they deserve it. It’s just not right.”

It’s not fair. Especially as they are not doing the adjustment to kids going to Private Schools.

Dad is there anything Boris and his team has actually not messed up. Pandemic, brexit, exams, sending warships after immigrants in rubber dinghies, food, trains, environment, schools, hospitals. I might even blame them for the weather.”

I can blame them for my team not winning a domestic trophy since 1955.

No that’s just cos Newcastle United are rubbish.”

Ok but I can blame them for the state of the garden and the tomato plants.

No Dad that’s down to you.”

Fair point but surely Hawklad, I can blame Boris for my burnt baking.

“No that’s the muppet baker.”

This is not going well…. I blame Boris for allowing a Sith Lord to be in charge of the country.

That’s Cummings is it not. He does look like an evil villain. It’s scary that he tells the PM what to do. I will give you that one.”

It is scary. But not as scary as the thought of Boris being PM.

Even you would make a better leader. Now that’s a thought. You could be this countries first ever tea total, vegetarian, single parent, Newcastle United supporting, useless cook, world class muppet ever to be our PM.”

That would be an honour.

Even better your place in history would be guaranteed. The worlds first world leader called Gary….”

The world needs a hero, it needs a Gary…..

Closer to the action

It’s been a hot day for Yorkshire. Not as hot as many places, but still hot for us.

Time to do some gardening. For the observant amongst you

  • Yes that conservatory has been taken over by Dinosaurs. I blame them for the mess,
  • Yes that ghostly and out of focus apparition in a red T-shirt is me. That’s the closest your going to get to a photo….. That’s how us with ‘faces made for radio’ like to do things….

An hours weeding. Lots of weeds pulled up and yet seemingly so little progress. But at least I’ve made a start.

Hoping for another clear night. A night of shooting star spotting. The Perseid Meteor Shower is currently ongoing. Last night at 1am we were outside. Sheet lightening frequently flashing across the sky. We always have a little game – who can spot the most… It was close last night.

Hawklad – 50 meteors

Dad – 4

Dad what are you doing?”

I’m lying on the ground, why don’t you join me…

Certainly not AND why?”

I’m thinking that if I’m lying down then I’m comfortable. Don’t have to strain my neck. I get to lie down and scan the sky. I think it’s the best way to see meteors.

*******Not the first time I’ve tried this approach – it worked well but one important safety point. Don’t put your cup of hot drink on the ground next to you. That last time my cup was visited by a slug. That’s not what I want in the dark when I’m taking a swig of warming brew********

“Really Dad. I have a problem with your technique?”

Go on then Hawklad what possible problem can you find with lying on the back while meteor hunting.

Well Dad. I’m standing up. So that takes me at least 5 feet closer to the sky action. Maybe that’s why I’m at 40 meteors and you are at TWO….”

Ok point taken.

Clouds permitting I’m hoping for a huge comeback.

Mmmmmmm

“Dad its about time you had a forfeit.”

****Hawklad knows me far too well. If you fancy beating someone at a challenge then I’m your man****

That’s assuming Son that you can beat your Dad.

That’s a given Dad”

Ok I’m on a losing streak which is running well over 7 years. But maybe today is MY day. So what am I going to beat you at. FIFA, Kerplunk, Top Trumps, Table Football. Maybe even a race – remember your recovering from an operation (**** what an awful parent that makes me sound like ****).

No Dad let’s do something completely different. Let’s pick a word and if I can get you to say it this afternoon – then I win.”

I’ve got this. What’s the word going to be? How about Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (****didn’t sound anything like that in my several attempts to say it*****).

No, how about we make it interesting and make it something like Mmmmmmm”

Ok that’s a deal.

*************

Dad where did we see Hollywood Vampires play?”

That was Manchester.

Ha that was easy Mmmmmmanchester.”

I’m not having that Hawklad. Doesn’t count.

**************

Dad which band did Ace of Spades?”

That’s Motörhead.

Got you. Mmmmmmotorhead.”

No no no, not having that.

**************

Dad what is the best comic book movie Universe?”

Definitely Marvel

So easy, Mmmmmmmarvel”

No no no no no. Just No Hawklad.

***************

But finally I cracked. The Force is not strong with this Jedi Knight.

Dad I’m starving, do you fancy a Chinese takeout?”

Mmmmmmmmm Mushroom Foo Yung. Mmmmmmmmmm Beancurd in Black Bean Sauce.

Got you properly that time Dad.”

Pants…. So I take it that you don’t want a takeaway meal then.

Of course not Dad.

Ok Hawklad, what’s my forfeit then?

Dad Tomorrow I’m going to make you a special drink in the kitchen. Let’s see what interesting ingredients I can find. Bet you won’t be saying Mmmmmmmm after you drink that.”

No I kinda figured that. Unless it’s ‘Phone me a Mmmmmmedic”

Help with yoga

What on earth are you doing Dad.”

This is supposed to be yoga.

Really, looks like torture.”

This position is supposed to be called the Downward Dog”

More like Dead Dog.”

And this one I’m transitioning into is called the Reverse Warrior.

You look like a Buffalo trying to do ballet.”

That’s not really helping Son.

This is very funny are you going to try another one Dad.”

This is a Mountain.

That’s just standing…”

Well this is the Siddha Pose.

Now that’s just sitting on the ground”.

Ok well this one is the Crescent Moon.

You look like you’ve just been struck by lightning.”

No pleasing some people. Well this one is Forward Fold.

Looks like you’ve dropped some money now.”

Right be prepared to be impressed now…. This one is called the Standing One legged Pulling Pose.

**** 3 seconds later I’m in a crumpled heap on the ground****

Awesome Dad, I’m calling that the Dead Muppet on the Ground position”

Yoga, I want some words….

If only sitting with a nettle tea and looking at a beautiful flower was classed as exercise….

Who invented yoga? Really! Who invented that medieval form of torture. I want words with them. The glossy brochures are so enticing.

Wonderful for posture

Stress busting

A pick me up for the soul

Strengthens the mind

Improves confidence

Recover your flexibility

Builds strength and a strong heart

Anyone can do it

Fun

Feel your anxiety ebb away

So what actually is the reality. What happens when YOGA meets a Yorkshire Bloke who is trying to figure out if he is Man or MUPPET….

So the iPad was fired up. A random yoga app was selected. The advanced 50 minute session selected. Surely being an experienced runner, CrossFit, weights, climbing, cycling superhero must count for something. For a start having an instructor who speaks in English would help. Whispering terms like Chaturanga Dandasana and Shalabhasana is just going to get a blank look in Yorkshire. Secondly can we not have an instructor who has the flexibility of Elastigirl. I’m not getting in those positions EVER, not even with scaffolding and a construction team.

50 minutes of basically hearing my body crack and creak. What are the official yoga terms for ‘that pigging hurts’, ‘are you kidding me’, ‘oh no I’m falling over’, and ‘I’m stuck’. Elastigirl, you try relaxing in the plank position when a dog is washing your face and the cat is scratching your heel. And while I’m on with it, Elastigirl my heel has never been designed to touch the back of my head – strangely my backbone makes that a physical impossibility. Lying on my back with my feet in the air might be doing something for my posterior but it’s playing havoc with my acid reflux. Where’s the warning to not get too close to glass windows when you try to balance on one leg while trying to get into the Superman flying position. It’s so far been beyond me to get into one position without farting…. Yes I can hold that press-up position for as long as you want but do you know the agony I’m in trying to hold a position which is basically me tied up in a knot. In fact most of the positions I’ve been instructed to hold while relaxing have quickly deteriorated into violent twitching and shaking episodes.

So yes I want serious words with the person who invented yoga. Tomorrow I’m going back to CrossFit training and weights. Those will now feel like an absolute delight. All that’s to yoga.

Before

Dad do you know that you were born before the introduction of the home computer.”

Computers are overrated, not sure they will catch on.

Before the Xbox. Even before Space Invaders”

I’m still trying to clear the first wave of aliens. One day……

Mobile phones still to be stuffed in any trouser pockets in your day…”

I wasn’t trusted with pockets. Mum would sew them up.

Before microwaves made it into kitchens, your ancient Dad.”

I remember our families first microwave. It was the size of St Bernards Dog Kennel. I had to plug it in. The first thing we tried to heat was a cup of water. While I pressed the start button my mum and dad hid behind the kitchen door. They thought it was going to go up like a nuclear weapon. Clearly their youngest son was expendable….

Before the Rubik’s Cube, did you get one”

No never had one. When people started talking about getting one …. it sounded to be like a new health worry that you had to see a Doctor about. I’ve got a bad case of the Rubiks.

What was it like being a kid with no cds or DVDs

A lot cheaper for my parents.

No Star Wars.”

It was also still safe to go into the sea as well when I was a kid. No shark movies yet. Jaws was still a little goldfish. I remember kids being told to keep off the beach as soon as that movie came out. Poor Jaws would have been a giant ice cube if he had ventured anywhere near the North Sea.

Even before the Rolling Stones, weren’t you Dad….”

Watch it Hawklad, I’m not that old. Definitely before Taylor Swift was born.

Your old enough to be her Dad…”

I look old enough to be her Great Great Great Grandad…

Before The Simpson’s and Spongebob…. You look old enough to be Homers Dad”

There is a definite family resemblance. You never see Homer and Me together in the same room. Just saying.

“Dad what was it like to be around at the same time as the dinosaurs?”

It was fun. Our barbecues had to be a lot bigger. It made country walks a lot more interesting. But it wasn’t fun trying to clean Pterodactyl poo from your windscreen.

Getting older is overrated……

Nonstop

It’s a hard life on the pet sofa. Nonstop action.

So while the pets were unusually becalmed and Hawklad was watching a Sherlock Holmes movie, I could focus on a pressing matter. Seeing what bargains I could find on the internet. Replacements for items which are starting to fall to bits. Actually that could include me.

As usual the items on my list where either unavailable or at full price (or beyond). But I did come across a range on interesting bargains.

  • A rather battered old pink Campervan. The description referred to well looked after, well loved, filled with character. I didn’t references to words like knackered, dented, rusted or broken. Clearly if it was true that the badly battered vehicle had in fact had only one careful owner well that owner must have been NASA.
  • A collection of novelty LPs which included masterpieces from the likes of The Crankies, Baron Knights, Showaddywaddy, Mud and Vanilla Ice. Shame I don’t have a record player……
  • A chessboard with some of the pieces missing. Suppose that contributes to quicker games.
  • The entire James Bond DVD collection. One dvd is missing and several are scratched. They also won’t work in the UK and Europe. But apart from that….
  • A Bullworker. Remember those. Those exercise devices which apparently if you used it for 10 minutes a day for a month you would end up looking like Thor or The Terminator. I might need to use that for several years……
  • A Batman lego set which would cost more than my car….
  • A Genuine Boomerang. Wow you must be able to get fake ones.
  • A box of VHS tapes. Maybe I can sell the bag loads of those cassettes we have filling up the garage.
  • A set of glowing hula hoops. Surely that would represent an essential purchase.
  • A Boris Johnson punch bag. So so tempted.
  • A giant bag of jigsaw pieces, several sets mixed together – no guarantee that all sets are complete. Trying to get my head round that one.
  • A pantomime horse costume for two adults. Apparently with some wear and tear. The mind boggles.
  • A set of 30 Xbox games. Ranging from motor racing to Star Wars.

Most admit the Xbox games pack was tempting. One problem. We would never use them. Son is a creature of habit. On his Xbox 360 he only ever played two games FIFA (football) and WWE (wrestling). When I saved up to upgrade it to an Xbox One, guess what. He’s only ever played two games on it. FIFA and WWE. Maybe Microsoft can next time just do us a special cutdown version of the Xbox Two. We only need it to play two games. Surely they can do us a cheap version rare edition. That might be worth something on eBay.

Different

Who are you looking at

I’ve always felt like the black sheep in the family. The odd one out amongst my siblings. The youngest by a decade. My brother and sisters had partied together and flown the nest while I was still at school. The tallest. The only shy one. The only one with a stammer as a kid. The only one who went to college and university. The only one you got letters after his name (M.U.P.P.E.T). The only one who never got married (huge mistake). The only bereaved one. The only single parent. The only blogger. The only vegetarian. The only one who has given up alcohol. The only one who is gluten free. The only runner. The only climber. The only one learning a second language. The only one who has visited mums grave. The only Asperger Parent. The only Newcastle United supporter. The only one without a middle name. The only one whose first name doesn’t start with a P. The only one how formed a close link with a Quaker family. The only religious one.

I could go on. Hopefully you get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my brother and sisters. We are close. Close but we don’t see each other much. Mum was always the centre. The gravitational pull that kept the various differing orbits from spinning away. I will see one sister every few months. Another one maybe a couple of times a year. Brother and the other sister maybe once in several years. An occasional phone call or text maintain a link. But since mum left we are slowly spinning apart.

So yes I do feel a little bit like the odd one out. That’s where friends come in. They get me. They make me feel not different. They make me feel whole again. Thank you ❤️

I will leave the final words to my departed partner. We were spending a night in London before we caught the first train to France. Off on our first holiday together. That was back in 2000. We were in a quiet but very full pub in Kings Cross. After a large lager my partner asked about my dieting life choice. In a voice which echoed round the pub. “Are you the only VEGETABLE in your family…”

Yes I probably am….

Online Education

Red sky – delight or warning?

For a couple of weeks I had been thinking about doing a list of things which might help make homeschooling work. But then Robyn published her wonderful post about Successful Online Learning. Robyn said it way better than I could ever do, so I thought let’s forget about my post. But then the inner muppet took over. How about tips on making a complete dogs dinner of Online Learning. I can do that. So here goes a Muppet Guide to Homeschooling.

  • Don’t bother checking the unused school bags which have been sat next to the front door since March. There is absolutely no chance that half eaten sandwiches and bananas might be still squashed in there. Even less chance that damp PE kit might still be festering under the mouldy school lunch.
  • Make sure you buy new and expensive school uniform items a week before schools shutdown for a pandemic. Absolutely no possibility that your kid will shoot up several sizes in those few months.
  • When the PE teacher asks for the parent to also take part in home games lessons, you have only one sensible response. Absolutely, it will be fun to show off to your child that you are still a sporting Super Being. There is no conceivable risk that you will pull every single muscle in your body and that you will be completely humiliated by your beloved offspring.
  • The Xbox is a perfectly acceptable online educational tool.
  • When you hear the words SCIENCE LESSON and MOLECULAR STRUCTURES in the same sentence then immediately pretend to be on a works call for the next two hours. The same principle also applies to the words MATHEMATICS and CALCULUS.
  • On a similar theme the words RELATIONSHIP And SEX EDUCATION should immediately bring the response – “go and speak to the other parent”. If that is not practical then it is perfectly acceptable to run outside and spend the next hour cutting the grass in the pouring rain.
  • Letting your child watch wrestling videos during a Citizenship Lesson is perfectly in line with governments curriculum.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to attach a profanity to any reference to DRAMA lessons.
  • A can of Pepsi, bag of crisps and a chocolate bar represents a balanced school lunch.
  • When homeschooling first starts you have this real commitment to fully focus on your child’s education. To sit with them. To be that one on one teacher. That feeling lasts for at most a couple of hours. You start to waiver with frequent trips to the kitchen for a hot drink and a biscuit. Next you sit next your child but secretly try to look at your emails and news feeds. It finally breaks down as your openly start playing Crossy Roads.
  • You don’t need to worry about charging the school iPad up. Your diligent child will always do that…..
  • It doesn’t make you a bad parent when you tell your child to ignore the instructions of the French Teacher and to use the Google Translation App.
  • Never get drawn into debates on History. You have zero chance of winning those – you haven’t read a history text in decades and watching the Ozzy Osbournes history tv show does not count as an Academic Qualification. Best approach is to just smile and nod.
  • For absolutely any Geography question your only responses should be – ‘The Himalayas’, ‘The Nile’, ‘Coastal Erosion’ or ‘Go and watch the Discovery Channel’.
  • When you restock on pens from Amazon never buy the cheap multipacks. You will never use the Red and Green ones.
  • For Food Technology it is perfectly acceptable to let your child watch any Gordon Ramsey Show.
  • Try to avoid saying things like ‘In my day’, ‘That’s not what I was taught’, ‘The Dinosaurs were not extinct yet when I was in school’. These all may give the false appearance that you are in fact an old fossil.
  • When your child has to do an art project never say ‘what is it supposed to be’ when you see the completed work for the first time. That’s not cool parenting at all. Much better to say ‘that’s nice’ or ‘that’s better than an Andy Warhol masterpiece’.
  • You might think you are an expert in computing. This might be backed up with academic qualifications. But never ever get involved in anything to do with technology. Trust me, let your child deal with the computer stuff. In fact let your child sort out your mobile at the same time.

There you go. Don’t follow any of my tips and you might make homeschooling work for you. Even better go and read a post like Robyn’s, she knows what she’s talking about….

Remember homeschooling can be FUN.